Tag Archives: ideas

What if?

Sometimes, as soon as I wake, and I’m talking the very second, there’s a question clamouring for an answer. It’s there, in my head and I don’t know where it came from, but it’s pushed itself forward demanding attention. There’s nothing else for it but to do something about it.

This morning the question was about two halfpennies rubbing together. You know the saying, I haven’t got two halfpennies to rub together. What if you had? What if you had those two halfpennies and you rubbed them. What would happen? This What if? question is huge. I read somewhere it’s often the question Stephen King starts out with. So, I looked up the derivation of the saying re: rubbing two halfpennies together and I learned something about myself: I have a tendency to take things too literally.

whatif1

what if the answer’s in the clouds?

I’m not too hot, it turns out, at this blue sky thinking. See, when I think of rubbing two halfpennies together, I immediately imagine there has to be an element of manual manipulation in there somewhere. You have to grab hold of those damned halfpennies, don’t you. and physically rub them together? Actually, no you don’t. They might rub together all by themselves, jangling in your pocket as you walk along the street, thereby demonstrating to the world around you that you are a person of means.Listen everybody, those jingling coins say to your neighbours. I have the wherewithal to buy whatever one may purchase for ready cash. Of course, the neighbours wouldn’t know whether those were coppers rubbing along in your pocket, or guineas.

whatifit'sme

what if it’s me?

And so, the whole phrase can mean so much more than I had thought. Now, there are images in my head; there are sounds; there are values and attitudes creeping into the old saying that I’d never considered before.

Hmmmm. More food for thought.

                                           

And now I’ve sorted out the link thing

Here’s the proof. I’m actually going to place a link within this post, I might be green and cabbage-looking on a bad day, but I consider this new knowledge no less than a triumph.
I’m picking up on the subject matter of Holly Lisle’s tip of the week at http://hollylisle.com

ideas tap

Can you simply turn on ideas?

Today she’s answering a query about ideas and it got me thinking about my own ideas and where they come from. I have a page on here dedicated to Inspirations. Take a look while you’re here – drop me a line if you like.

So, can you turn on ideas like a tap? Or fawcett, depending on where you are. I can’t. I have no control over them. I could sit in a specially designated ideas room with an extra comfy ideas chair, drinking a specially brewed cup of ideas tea and nothing would happen. I know for a certainty that nothing would happen. I’d be wasting my time. You can’t force ideas. Well, I suppose some people can, but I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about what works best for me. Letting it happen is what works for me. Not trying to force it. Not beating myself up if it doesn’t happen.

Here’s an example of what I mean. Sometimes, it’s a visual motivation: a mountain, a lake, a celebration. Sometimes an idea comes from something I’ve heard someone say. I’ll be right there, in the middle of a conversation and . . . bang . . . I have a new title to work with or a situation ready-primed with emotional conflicts.

On a coffee break with friends, the subject of planning meals came up. It was one of those light bulb moments to use a cliché that are supposed to be forbidden. The idea stuck with me and another short story came into being. I wrote it in a matter of hours, sent it off and the editor liked it – except for the ending. A quick revision solved the problem.

A chance remark became this short story

A chance remark became this short story

Waiting for submissions feedback

waitingroom

an old British Rail waiting room

Waiting. Waiting. Drumming your fingers on the desk. Making another hot drink. Not being able to settle. Can’t read. Not even a newspaper.

I hate waiting. So, I don’t. I write instead. Actually, I blog and network and do some writing. Maybe a bit of editing, too. I go outside with a coffee and do A LOT of staring into space. Walking helps with the waiting thing as well. We have plenty of places to walk – mostly through the vineyards surrounding the village. I take my camera and see what’s new for the upcoming Wednesday Vine Report. The whites have begun sprouting leaves already.

vineyards

vineyards below the village near the river

So, my time is filled productively without too much waiting. And a very strange thing happens while I’m out walking along the lanes. Ideas arrive! They pop up from behind a bush or they streak across the sky with Ryanair on its way to Beziers airport. My feet crunch through gravel and here’s a tale of lost luggage and a mix-up at the car hire desk where a kind person offers the lost luggage person a lift home. Hmmm. Romantic interlude or Samaritan from Hell? I think that’s already been done. Left, right, swishing through the grass and here comes another idea. Fast on its heels there’s an answer to that question I had about a character in a short story. I meet a couple walking their dog and now I know exactly what my elderly male character ought to wear on his head. I climb towards home. There’s a young man sitting on a bench by the side of the road. He has his mobile phone to his ear. Hang on a minute, goes the old grey matter, that there is an old folks’ bench. What is a young man like him doing sitting on an old folks’ bench using his mobile phone?

And before you know it, another short story is bubbling like Evian, featuring the very handsome young man, a distraught, wronged lover and a victorious wife biding her time for the killing. I dash indoors for my notebook. Then, I come back to my garden for some more staring into space.

DCF compatable JPEG Img

Flowers and fruit at the same time

Outside on my baby lime tree there are mature fruits and fruits barely formed and flowers waiting for the bees. A bit like my writing really.

I have three completed novels. Let me rephrase that. I have one novel under consideration at the moment and I consider that one finished after two rewrites. The other two novels need complete, hefty editing. They’re all different genres. One’s a family saga and at 140,000 words needs the heftiest axe. Another’s a psychological drama and needs a restructure. The third’s a book club read and at 86,000 words is close to optimum. I think. I’m waiting to find out. I’m also waiting for feedback on two short stories submitted to Woman’s Weekly. And the serial. So, that’s four pieces of work I’m waiting to hear about.

Then there are the flowers waiting for the bees. Two half-written novels, umpteen short stories and a file called Ideas which keeps growing longer every time I go out for a walk and see handsome young men on their mobiles in the wrong place.

By the time my limes fizz at the top of a clinky drink of Gin and Tonic, I’m really going to need it. Make it a big one. Easy on the tonic!